Plan now for Mardi Gras 2010 in New Orleans

Plan now for Mardi Gras 2010 in New Orleans
July 10, 2009
Kathleen K Parker

f you are thinking of going to Mardi Gras next year, you’d better get cracking. New Orleans fills up, literally! It is time to plan for Mardi Gras 2010.

The Mardi Gras parade season in New Orleans is the biggest, longest, and most attended event in the city of New Orleans. The season actually spans an approximate two week period, culminating with the well known and traditional Rex and Zulu Parades on Mardi Gras Day. Dates of Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, vary each year and always precede Ash Wednesday or the first day of Lent. In 2010, Mardi Gras Day is Tuesday, February 16. Many locals and travelers secure hotel accommodations months in advance for the big four day “Mardi Gras Weekend,” for hotels and bed and breakfasts fill quickly to capacity.

Have you ever seen an entire family of Dalmatians, a whole crew of irreverent nuns, a walking box of crayons, the mostly naked cowboy playing his guitar, or a lonely gorilla looking for a banana? No? Well, you haven’t been to Mardi Gras in NOLA!

Viewing areas on Mardi Gras Day begin uptown on Napoleon Avenue, move down almost the length of St. Charles Avenue, and end downtown in the vicinity of the French Quarter. During this festive time, families typically choose to enjoy the parades in the uptown area, while couples and singles might choose the downtown area and include a visit to Bourbon Street. Let me be perfectly clear here: do not take your children to the French Quarter for Mardi Gras. Bawdy is a euphemism here for all out “anything goes.” This part is for adults, only! OK?

Mardi Gras Indians, Photo by Kathleen K. Parker

The French Quarter aside, there is something for everyone to see: Colorfully costumed krewe members are transported by flamboyantly decorated floats. Dukes of Mardi Gras royalty and police ride horses. Throws of beads, doubloons, cups, Zulu coconuts, and unique trinkets; bands, marching groups, and dancers; Mardi Gras Indians and costumed parade-goers mark this special day. For the most fun, and as a good way to keep up with your group, you might consider dressing up in matching costumes. Costuming on Mardi Gras Day is a tradition. There is just something about wearing that costume that allows you to be as silly as you want.

So get ready for your stay at Mardi Gras. Plan early. Book that hotel room. Design your costume out of odds and ends around your house, or visit a Goodwill Store for an inexpensive potpourri of items. Our weather in February varies quite a bit. It can be sunny and warm or rainy and bone-chilling. Check the forecasts, read about the average temperatures, and come on down for the Mardi Gras. We’ll be looking for you, Dalmatian family!

“Laissez le bon temps rouler!”
(Let the good times roll!)
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